Despite its position as the central city of one of the most dynamic regions in the country, Dallas faces fierce competition for investment, jobs, and talent. Many of the city’s regional competitors boast well-funded economic development organizations, enabling them to offer generous financial incentives in the form of land, buildings, and cash grants. At the national level, Dallas competes with major markets such as Atlanta, New York, and Chicago. These large cities often structure their economic development programs to operate as independent entities with the ability to leverage both public and private funding sources.
Upon completion of its 2019 strategic planning process, the City of Dallas hired TIP Strategies to facilitate a review of the resulting plan and work with specific stakeholder groups to identify priorities that would inform next steps for implementation. TIP solicited input on the draft plan from Dallas city councilmembers, a community review panel, and a policy advisory committee through interviews, listening sessions, and an online survey. Following the plan review, TIP was charged with providing guidance on the formation of a new, stand-alone economic development organization and preparing an economic development policy framework for accomplishing its objectives. The creation of an independent entity that can showcase Dallas’s assets more fully, generate capital, and move deals forward—especially in underserved and underdeveloped areas—was a central goal of the strategic plan and the highest priority identified by stakeholders during TIP’s outreach. Among the perceived advantages of this approach is the ability to insulate economic development activities from day-to-day politics, mitigate the impact of leadership changes, and allow a more nimble response to investment opportunities. TIP was re-engaged in 2021 to stand up the new organization, which is seen as an essential step towards achieving the City’s stated policy goals of creating a more inclusive and sustainable economy while strengthening Dallas’s competitive position.